Coding for Girls


Reshma Saujani , Founder, and Kristin Titus, Executive Director, along with their staff run the non-profit Girls Who Code and have started a movement to inspire young women to fall in love with math and science. In the world of technology there are brilliant minds  behind the scenes but few of them are female, Reshma Saujani has set out to even the field and teach young women there is a bright future in the field of computer science.

Image by Craigconnects.org

Since the organization launched in 2012 they have made significant strides in teaching HTML, app development, web design and more to aspiring girls. They’ve had two summer immersion programs, one of which the 2012 graduating class developed apps as their final projects while the 2013 program gained recognition from partners like Google, Twitter , Ebay and many others. Starting in New York, Girls Who Code plans to expand to other cities: Detroit, San José and San Francisco. The goal of Girls Who Code is, to provide computer science education and exposure to 1 million young women by 2020.”

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Giving a Shot@Life


Walgreens (Get a Shot Give a Shot™) has partnered with the United Nations Foundation so when someone gets a flu shot or immunization shot the Shot@Life campaign will give a life-saving vaccine to a child in another country, from now until October 14th, 2013. If you’d prefer, donations are also accepted to aid the Shot@Life campaign to provide education, advocacy, in addition to vaccines.

” Vaccines save lives. Millions of children could be spared from measles, pneumonia, diarrhea, polio and other preventable diseases if we could simply get them the vaccines they need. Many children in developing countries lack access to vaccines — often because they live in hard-to-reach communities. The good news is access to vaccines has grown significantly in the last decade. Vaccines currently help save 2.5 million children from preventable diseases every year. ” Shot@Life

Lighting the Way


Thirty minutes of playing ball will provide nearly three hours of light, if you use the sOccket soccer ball. The co-inventors of this amazing invention, Jessica Matthews, Julie Silverman, Jessica Lin and Hemali Thakkar, came up with the idea of charging energy in a ball initially as a final exam project at Harvard. They wanted to create an independent source of clean energy that would benefit people living in developing countries who did not have adequate electricity. After designing and testing the first prototype they eagerly worked on a functional product. They were successful and there are now sOccket soccer balls in South Africa, Mexico, Haiti, Spain and the United States. The idea of the sOccket is to help solve a problem and progress has been made in giving light to others.

After the development of sOccket the company, Uncharted Play was launched and in addition to the sOccket they have also produced other energy generating products.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Room To Grow


“A baby is born with a need to be loved — and never outgrows it. “
Frank A. Clark

Since 1998, the mission of  Room to Grow has been to, ” enrich the lives of babies born into poverty throughout their critical first three years of development. RTG began with the pioneering idea of combining long-term material and parenting support for children in these earliest years. ”

Expectant parents needing  assistance with a  baby are referred to RTG by referral partners. Then after a one-on-one meeting with a RTG staff member parents are provided with useful developmental information, specific to their needs, as well as necessary baby items to help promote a healthy start. RTG has offices in New York and Boston, but there’s no limit to how far a helping hand can reach. Every child deserves a fighting chance at life; to be healthy, happy and safe.

For more information about how Room to Grow works, please  click here.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Breaking Bread


Years ago when I worked for a non-profit, Panera Bread® helped us to fuel our runners,walkers and volunteers for our annual walk/run fundraiser and we continued to reach out to the local restaurant for a few years after and they came through with donations every time. Besides offering good service and great tasting food, Panera Bread® reaches past the kitchen to care for the community. Through a series of community outreach initiatives,  Panera Bread® demonstrates the spirit of giving in the communities where they have a presence.

Café:

“For more than three years, the Panera Bread® Foundation has been working on developing these non-profit community cafes of shared responsibility.

Warm Food, Warm Experience
At Panera Cares community cafes, patrons find the same menu one would find at a for-profit Panera Bread ® bakery- café. But instead of prices, suggested donation amounts are posted on the menu panels. Customers are asked to contribute what they can in the donation bins – whether that’s more, less, or equal to the suggested amount. Diners who do not have the means to donate can contribute by signing up for a volunteer shift if they choose.  The first Panera Cares community café opened in May 2010 in Clayton, Missouri. Three more followed in Dearborn, Michigan; Portland, Oregon; and Chicago, Illinois. A fifth location is expected to open in early 2013. The goal of the cafes is to be self-sustaining –to generate enough donations to cover all direct operating costs while being able to cover the cost of meals of those in need of a hand up. “

Job Training:

In Missouri, while partnering with Covenant House, Panera has developed a job training program for at-risk young people to help them to be prepared for the workplace with valuable work experience and life skills.

“At Panera Bread®, we believe in giving back to local communities.”

Operation Dough-Nation Programs– Beginning in 1992, Operation Dough-Nation began as a way to connect to the community. Now it’s expanded to include four other activities: Community Breadbox™ cash collection boxes, the Day-End Dough-Nation™ program, Panera/SCRIP Card fundraising and participation in community events.

breadCommunity Breadbox– Panera will match a portion of the cash donations made by customers in  the bakery- café and distribute the funds collected to local non-profit organizations, to help meet basic necessities for the needy in the community.

Day-End Dough-Nation – At the end of each day, Panera Bread donates all unsold bread and baked goods to local area hunger relief agencies and charities. One of the organizations who benefit from this program is Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

SCRIP Fundraising – Non-profit organizations are able to pre-purchase $10 Panera Card® gift cards at a 9% discounted rate and then re-sell the Panera Cards at full price.

 Community Events– They make in-kind donations to organizations for events such as raffles, auctions, or run/walks.

Learn more about what Panera Bread is doing at www.paneracares.org.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes

Khan Academy: Learn Everything, Online


The founder of Khan Academy, Salman (Sal) Khan started out wanting to help a few members of his family and now his lessons reach millions all over the world, free. Class is in session, are you ready to begin? Visit Khan Academy’s website to find out more information https://www.khanacademy.org/ 

Igniting Your Dream


Did you make a New Year’s resolution this year to actively pursue your dreams, but you’re not exactly sure how to do it? Big dreams are never meant for us to achieve on our own, we’ll need help from others to make the dream a reality.  If you think $10,000 could help further your dreams, then share your idea with American Family Insurance (Amfam) and you could win the cash plus a trip to Madison, WI. A panel of judges, including entrepreneur Kathy Ireland, will pick three winners to participate in the 2013 Dream Camp experience and receive coaching and mentoring.  Upload a photo with a short description detailing your dream or shoot a video describing your dream. Visit Amfam’s website and post your information on Facebook or YouTube. The deadline to enter is February 17, 2013.

Casually speaking and all the best,
Mercedes